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5 Popular Myths about Long Distance Bicycle Touring

trueorfalseRecently Chris from Vermont e-mailed us about our bicycle tour.  Before signing off he wrote, “I would love to do what you’re doing, but at my age it’s just not possible.”

This type of email is typical.  People writing to say they would like to set off on a bicycle tour but can’t for any number of reasons.

Now, I don’t know Chris from Vermont’s age.  Perhaps he’s pushing 90.  Maybe he really is too old for a long-distance bicycle tour.  But more likely than not, he just thinks he’s too old.  He’s bought into a myth about bicycle touring.

There are all sorts of myths about bicycle touring flying around.  Here are a few of my favorites:

French retirees Andre and Danielle take on South America.Myth 1: Long distance adventure Bicycle Touring is only for the young. Sure we all know granny and gramps can trundle around Europe on bicycles.  Pedal 40 kilometers, plop down at a café for a leisurely lunch and then check into a comfy B&B for the night.

But retirees bicycle touring in 3rd world countries?  Camping in the wild?  Cranking out 100+ kilometers per day.  Not possible most would say.

Wrong.  Danielle and André, a French couple well into their 60s, passed us up as we were fighting headwinds on our way to Ushuaia.  They camp.  They ride through developing countries like Peru and Bolivia.  And they collect social security.  Who says adventure bicycle touring is just for the young?

 

Myth 2:  You must be super-fit to set off on a bicycle tour.   Nothing could be further from the truth.  If you’ve got two functioning lungs, you can go on a bicycle tour.  The beauty of bicycle touring is that you can start out slow and build up gradually. There’s no need to be able to crank out 100 kilometers on your first day.  In fact, many bicycle tourists are comfortable puttering along at around 60 kilometers per day.

 

Olivia and Bhinti from Crazyonbikes.com on what they call a 'turtle tour' around the world.  Cycling slowly and loving it.

Olivia and Bhinti from Crazyonbikes.com on what they call a 'turtle tour' around the world. Cycling slowly and loving it.

Myth 3:  Bicycle Touring requires a major investment in gear.  Nah.  That’s just not true.  Way back in 2004 when Eric and I set off on our very first bicycle tour, we looked more like a couple of homeless people on bikes than serious cyclists.

I was riding an old Schwinn we’d picked up at a garage sale, Eric had a mountain bike he’d bought back in the 80’s, and instead of sleek-looking Ortlieb panniers, we’d strapped a backpack on the rack.

cool-bicycle

We were a sight.  But it didn’t matter.  We made it 767 kilometers through Alsace and had the best vacation ever.

It’s easy to fall prey to all the marketing hype around high-tech gear.  Sure, I love my sturdy, long-suffering Koga Miyata.  When it rains, I’m thankful for waterproof bicycle bags.

But could I bicycle tour around the world without all the great gear?  You bet.

Myth 4:  A major long-distance bicycle tour is expensive. Unless you’re keen on walking, Bicycle Touring is the absolute cheapest way to travel.  Since we set off in June 2006, our total expenditure has been around $55,000.  Total expenditure.  Gear, bicycles, airline tickets, insurance, healthcare costs, food, clothing, accommodation, electronics, EVERYTHING.

$55,000  for two people in four and a half years is really not a lot of money.   That’s less than the average US family income for one year.  And we were travelling.

When you break it down, that’s $500 per month per person.  Probably what some of you fork over each month in car payments.

Admittedly, we are rather frugal.  There are times when I could do with a little more comfort.  But the point is, if you don’t mind camping and couchsurfing, self-catering and keeping an eye on your budget, a long-distance bicycle tour is probably within reach for you.**

Myth 5:  You must be ‘tough’ to set off on a bicycle tour. We cyclists like to write a lot about how much we suffer on bicycle tours.  We whine about headwinds and climate extremes.  We go on and on about steep mountain passes and bone-jarring backroads.    We spin tales about cycling through the desert lugging around a week’s water supply.

While there is some truth to all this talk of suffering, a lot is pure hyperbole (the winds in Patagonia excepted).

Bicycle touring can be as comfortable as you want to make it.  If you’ve got a generous budget, there are plenty of companies that will organize a tour for you and even arrange for your luggage to be transferred from one destination to the next (check out Biciklo for lots of listings).

Southeast Asia is a popular bicycle touring destination because distances are short, food is delicious and towns with comfortable guest houses are so close together that carrying a tent is optional.

Finally, if you’re not too proud to hop on a truck, suffering is almost always optional, no matter in what part of the world you choose to cycle.

 

Sometimes it's best just to swallow your pride and hop on a truck.

Sometimes it's best just to swallow your pride and hop on a truck.

What’s your opinion?  Do you agree/disagree with these popular bicycle touring myths?  Maybe you’ve got your own myth to add.

**disclaimer  “You” refers to the average reader of this blog–an English-speaking individual living in the US or Western Europe.  Obviously, for those living in the developing world even $500 is a huge sum of money.

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34 Responses to 5 Popular Myths about Long Distance Bicycle Touring

  1. Doug
    Doug January 4, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    Is bike touring really that cheap? Sign me up. My car payment is MORE than $500 per month. Maybe bicycle touring is actually a way to save money.

  2. fubek
    fubek January 4, 2011 at 11:37 pm #

    The best thing is: if you have saved up $200,000, you can bicycle tour indefinetly (12*$500/3%, with a safe withdrawal rate of 3%).

  3. Karen
    Karen January 5, 2011 at 12:30 am #

    Those are the words I like to hear! We can all make excuses for why not to do something… even those with kids don’t really have an excuse look at the cycling families out there (e.g . Family on a Bike). You just have to make it happen, and Amaya you raise a good point, there are so many types of touring, you don’t have to do the world, or a continent, it can be what you want it to be. And I really doubt if it’s ever really about the cycling, rather than the actual point of travel itself. Don’t fell like pushing a headwind? Hop a plane, train or a lift you are still living life to the fullest and traveling in a way that a very small minority choose, and it’s really just that easy.

    On another note, $55,000 really?? I’d be interested in knowing more details about this. Looking at insurance alone for our upcoming trip it looks like it will cost $8,000 alone for five years and we haven’t even left yet (World Nomads quote).

    • World Biking
      Amaya January 5, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

      Hi Karen,
      Thanks for the suggestion of providing more details about how much a bike tour costs and where all the money goes. Insurance can take a big bite out of the budget. World Nomads has become very popular and is no longer the most economical insurance on the market for certain age categories. You may want to check out http://www.avi-international.com/biz/cgi/inscription_gt.pl?508
      Their site is not very well put together, but prices for travel insurance are very competitive.

  4. Tom
    Tom January 5, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    $500/month? Luxury!!! My first 5 months cost me 700 Euros ;)

    • World Biking
      Amaya January 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

      Hey Tom,
      Thanks for sharing your budget figures. I know this will be reassuring to cyclists worried about not having saved enough for their tour.

      Your budget works out to about $6 per day. I think that’s definitely do-able in most parts of the world.

      In developing couintries, our daily expense budget for food and accommodation hovers around that figure. Even in places like the US, Western Europe and some more expensive South American countries like Brazil, Chile and Argentina our daily expenses budget never gets above $10 per person per day.

      But when I factor in additional expenses like health insurance, 4 international round-trip flights, 4 computers, misc. gear and so on, our average daily budget goes much higher. Obviously those are are extras that can be easily be cut out.

  5. nicolaus
    nicolaus January 5, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    Completely agree with 1-4. Cheapest month for me was in Northern Pakistan, coming in from China: one month @ USD 220 (rope beds included).

    On your point5, I still think long distance cyclists have a certain mindset not everyone has or wants to have. Many of my friends cannot understand how one can be at ease and at peace getting up in the morning and not knowing where the next night will be spent, whether it’s camping or in some guesthouse. Where will you get food, water? How do you know where to go…etc.? The continuous uncertainty (or perceived at least) is what I found puts most people off. It’s exactly that which makes the beauty of a long-distance cylcing trip…you just know you’ll end up somewhere ok, so no need to worry about it.

    Good luck with the headwinds (by the way, Murphy’s law: you will head back North the day the winds change direction:-))!

  6. Sonya
    Sonya January 5, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    Hey agree with everything here Amaya
    And was interested to discover that in the years 2007 thru and including 2010, we spent $67,500 and we don’t live frugally at all. This was also including two European visits, Japan and Korea, Canada and the States. It really doesn’t cost much to cycle tour at all!

  7. Ash
    Ash January 6, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    Amaya and Eric thanks for sharing this with us. Amaya your points are wll said. We have become, to put it mildly, lazy. Our travels are usually associated with luxury. In bike tours there is luxury but not the type of luxury understood by many. It is a luxury and previledge to ride every day through different countries for such a long time. What you two got to see is something people with lots of money do not even know about. The super rich don’t even dream of this. You are an inspiration for many of us. I for one might not be able to ride 4 years and go to such exotic places for different reason(s). But I do plan to take a sabbatical (1 year) to just ride my bike. Africa is what come to my mind for now. I am in my fifties!!

    Take care and be well. I

  8. Imran Khan
    Imran Khan January 14, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    Spot on!
    Everyone we cross here, without exageration, says these exact words: “I would never do that!”. I especially liked the disclaimer at the end, how sensitive. That’s a very sad reality: I’m telling everyone at home that everyone can do it, I can’ say that to even the wealthiest people I’m meeting in West Africa. I just read that the first black man is attempting to cycle from Tangier to the UK, which has been done countless times by Europeans!
    This reminds us everyday how lucky we are to be able to be cycling.

  9. Randy Garmon
    Randy Garmon January 26, 2011 at 1:28 am #

    “Well into their 60′s … ” Imagine that!

    Having recently “eased into my 60′s” I agree with what you are saying that the bike touring is not for the young only. Some of the seemingly most contented tour-ers I have met on my travels are older than I … and their “old age” experience seems to allow them to travel at an easy and graceful pace.

    As always, your thoughts are well presented and greatly appreciated.

    Randy

  10. Ron Desjardins
    Ron Desjardins February 16, 2011 at 8:07 am #

    Yep, I can vouch for Randy Garmon.He is a great bike companion…I was lucky to ride a few days last summer on the Northern Tier with him…..Over 60 ??? go for it!…now you’ve got the time and can really enjoy the trip!..
    Ron ( Bikerguy 73)

  11. Michael Bayramian
    Michael Bayramian May 11, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    Actually I disagree with several oof your myths. 1) You do hve to be tougher than many people both mentally and physically not just to weather the environment which at times is a buisy highway full of bad drivers, but when it is 100 degrees F and tha asfualt is raidiating hotter and you are up agianst a strong wind and the need for respite but you must remian calm and serene. even when a large truck swipes yo off the road without stopping 10 miles from help. 2 the proper gear is essential for the safe and physically unstrenious trip. You can do a lot of damage to your body without proper fittings and measurments and even then you can screw your body up if you do not have the right understanding of how your muscels develope and work with or against your bones. Case in point I saw two fellows rolling down a mountianside with loaded bikes to afriad for their own good gong to fast around and down blind corners and obstructing trafic to boot. Not only do they give cyclists a bad name but they help angry drivers get madder at cyclists in general. And the oldr people get the more nutrients will be needed and depleted on long physically demanding travels. Thus extra care and extra money are required to keep up the proper nutrients and wellbeing of thier bodies. There is a lot of stressful situations you can get into on the road, bycycling in a safe and defensive mannor requires an alertness most drivers don’t even use and driving itself can be incredibley stressfull. In some areas people are not at all welcoming or helpful and this also can add to the overall stressfulness of the situation, and that stress inhibits muscel preformance a can cause strain that is just plain un-nessisary.
    I speak from the expieriance of 12,000 miles of touring and have used both ceap and expensive gear and I can tell with certianty that both my saftey and my physicall and mental conditon was greatly improved by the use of more expensive and worthy gear.

    • World Biking
      Amaya May 11, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

      All valid points. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  12. Fiza NatioN
    Fiza NatioN May 24, 2011 at 1:27 am #

    hello from egypt …. let me tell you 1st how u do inspire me especially after this post :)
    i’m planning on going from cairo to halaieb the far south east corner of egypt taking the road to suez city down with the coast through the gulf of suez & the red sea coast down to the Sudanese border :D i feel like i’m in heaven with sea, desert & mountain all together in the same place … okie here’s the thing i dun know how many kilos it is exactly but my guess it’s nuthin less than 2000 km. i dun have a good bike my goal from this journey is to take as much photos as i can & i’m waiting for my 1st dSLR to come in September god welling. can i do it & how long well it take ? what are my chances to go a little deep into the mountains ? can i do it alone ? is it gonna b deadly boring going the same road back for like 400+ km so i can go deep into the mountains to a place called shiekh shazly area take some pix & the cycle my way to aswan & take the train from there :D i dun think i wanna cycle my way down the river :D i think it’s gonna be more than 3000+ km total if i could do it like i want to .. how long is it gonna take giving my physical condition & not that good bike (nuthin fancy just urban 26″ no speeds)
    i’m a 26 yo male & i dun work out alot but used to play sport & i like physical torture.
    sadly i smokenow :( soon to quit inshalah :D

  13. Tim Woods
    Tim Woods September 15, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    never get on a truck bus train!!! Bike it! Never give up!!!

    • World Biking
      Amaya September 17, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

      I absolutely agree with “never give up,” but hopping on a bus or train may be the only way to keep your sanity in some cases. I say, do what’s right for you.

  14. Gordon Keith
    Gordon Keith June 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

    Hi I am 73 and have the desire to cycle to Europe from Pretoria in South Africa, I am looking for advice on necessities to carry and keeping things light also in these times need some advice on the safest and best routes. I am interested in going via Botswana, Zambia and taking the shortest from there on, is it possible to route following the Nile from Lake Albert to Cairo or would it be better to go a more Easterly route, maybe even suggestions on a West coast route Any advice would be welcome

  15. Diane
    Diane September 3, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

    With just $500 a month, how much/where did you stay overnight? I am planning to do some touring in the US. The cost of campsites and budget motels runs $20 – 100 a night. Any suggestions on how to keep this cost low? Thanks

  16. jake
    jake October 6, 2012 at 4:40 am #

    the problem with bicycle touring is that you can’t do any hiking because you are too tired and you can’t leave the bicycle unatended at the trail heads due to theft. To see the best scenery, you have to leave the road behind. All the bicycle travel diaries online use words like “beautiful” and “breathtaking” a lot, but the photos are anything but beautiful, why would I want to spend weeks and months staring at the pavement?

    • World Biking
      World Biking October 6, 2012 at 9:39 am #

      Having just spent 5 horrific days biking from Broome to Port Headland into a headwind while gazing at the pavement I understand your sentiment completely. But trust me…there are days of sublime beauty and that’s what keeps me pedaling.

  17. jake
    jake October 6, 2012 at 4:56 am #

    there’s a lot of claims about bicycle travel being the most efficient and also the cheapest…First…the cost of food is going to always be much higher than fuel, so public transportation (buses, trains) are always going to be more cost effective than pedaling cross country while saving loads of time too…

    And as to the efficiency of a bicycle, its really about aerodynamics…and there isn’t a single form of transportation with worse aerodynamics than that of a bicycle….Essentially, a bicycle and rider have the drag coefficient of a flying brick…even a gas guzzling SUV has a Cd of at least 0.5, meaning it is twice as efficient as a bicycle. Add on the aerodynamic inefficiency the fact that there is no protection from the weather, a forward pronated posture forcing you to stare at the pavement, next to no luggage space and extreme in compatibility with other forms of transport means that bicycle touring is all about suffering pain…

  18. jake
    jake October 7, 2012 at 5:22 am #

    thanks for your honest answer…I know, i’ve done a lot of bicycle touring as well…I’ve riden half of the PanAmerican highway, from Fairbanks Alaska to San Jose Costa Rica…..but enough was enough…I found out I missed all the best hikes because I didn’t have anytime or the energy for them. it seems at the beginning, bicycle touring is a good novelty, but the reality of it soon sinks in….

  19. juan
    juan January 6, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

    I am planning my second bicycle journey in 2013, I don`t know how much money i need to have. But I think only when I be on the road I will find out how much money I need. I will like to pedal from USA to Europe & to Israel and around others countries. $5,000 will okey..? I don`t know it till i be on the road. My journey is not about just passing by or looking like a traveler. My journey is Spiritual, I am a Christian. I am not searching for more faith but for more spiritual encounters with other people on my way. If i experience & listen other people I may learn more about myself & the needs of other minds & hearts. Sometimes I will like to form a group or different believers & may be atheist people to come along. I don`t care who you are as long you are a honest heart willing to explore and learn…..I will like to create documentaries with my GOPro camera…and pictures…… Thanx… Juan …

  20. Fred
    Fred January 16, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    If you have your health and the wish to do it , age is no barrier. My wife and I bought a tandem at age 72 and since then have done self supported tours of US west coast, 3000km tour around France, Transam, 3500 tour of Europe crossing the alps north to south and then back the other way. Trust me, there is simply no way to better see the country. We are planning an East to West Northern tour route this May when we will both be 80. Its better to wear out than rust out

    t

  21. Shakylegs
    Shakylegs June 1, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    I like this article. It dispels the myths of long distance cycling: Young, Fit, and Expensive,

    Young: I am 77 now and planning a medium length trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles via Route-1 which will take me down the coast and through Big Sur. Previously, while in my earlier 70′s, I did a two month trip through the Swiss and Austrian Alps, then biked the Dalmatian Islands off the coast of Croatia. Possibly the best European trip was a 9-week tour in Southern France.

    Fit: Fitness does not mean hammering your body into shape. My fitness right now is only so-so, so I plan to do only 15 miles or so each day the first few days, and gradually increase the mileage as I go – if I feel the need to.

    Expense: You do not need an expensive bike and equipment. For this coming trip I plan to fly to San Francisco, and buy a bike at Walmart for about $150 to $250. On my Alps trip I took an aging bike originally bought from Costco, and on the France trip a cheap $87 bike. I gave both bikes away to avoid the cost of shipping them home.

    I will add another item: I usually travel solo, and my daily costs of camping and food usually run less than $50 a day. Compare that to a guided tour that can cost you from $100 to $200 a day.

    • Shakylegs
      Shakylegs July 14, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

      I have finished the California coast bike trip. Some comments:

      * I bought a very nice bike at a Walmart near SFO for $95.
      * I was out of condition, so I only did about 20 miles or so the first few days.
      * Narrow road shoulders were the main danger.
      * The cost of the Hike & Bike campsites at the State Parks is only $5 a night.
      * The route was tougher than expected, but the weather was perfect – sunny and cool.
      * I decided to cut the trip short at San Luis Obispo to avoid Route 101.

      A good trip. Now where should I bike next? Hmm.

    • Shakylegs
      Shakylegs September 18, 2014 at 6:57 am #

      I have just come back from another long distance bike trip of two months duration. This time to Scotland. For those of you who are interested, I have a short description of it on my Facebook page with some photo’s:

      Click below

      https://www.facebook.com/notes/maurice-robson/biking-scotland-2014/10150416224694944

  22. Shakylegs
    Shakylegs August 7, 2013 at 1:52 am #

    I was a little disappointed in Jake’s three comments. He has clearly done some serious long distance bike touring – maybe he is burned out.

    Here are some of the issues he raised:

    “. . weeks and months staring at the pavement”
    Change your approach to biking; try biking just 25 miles a day instead of ripping off a 100 miles. That means you can arrive at the next camp site well before noon and relax throughout the PM.

    “. . can’t do any hiking”
    Sure you can hike; after a day or two in the saddle, ask the next campground ranger to keep your bike in a storage shed, and take to the hills on an extended hike. Even Mt. Whitney can be climbed in one day.

    “. . cost of food . . much higher than fuel”
    Hold everything; do you mean when you travel by car or public transport that you do not eat – at all?

    “. . public transport . . saving loads of time”
    Saving lots of time is not the issue; the fastest way to go completely around the world would be by commercial airlines – and see nothing but airports!

    “. . the efficiency of a bicycle”
    Sure it’s efficient; it is one of the most efficient modes of transportation known to man. The Viet Nam war was won by thousands of coolies on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, pushing bikes, each loaded with hundreds of pounds of supplies. You say you want to hike? There is no mechanical efficiency in hiking; you support your body and the backpack entirely on your legs.

  23. Vuk Peric
    Vuk Peric May 31, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

    Shakylegs love you man
    I just learnd how to ride a bike last year in feb. I already done a tour throu Serbia and montenegro of some 1700km and in this year and 4months Iw done some 10 000km riding my bike to work every day. In a few months I plan to start my trip from Belgrade Serbia to London UK.
    Stealth and cheap being the key words in my plan

  24. William
    William July 3, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    I am just getting into Cycle Touring – still working on getting my wife to believe it is the best means of going on holiday.

    I think anyone being negative about cycle touring does not understand that it is all about being at peace. If you are too tired to hike when you reach your destination, well sleep a night and go hiking the next day.

    For our 20th anniversary we did our first trip. Daily travel ranaged from 15km (8miles) to 40km (25 miles). Most days included at least a 5 km hike, and some days up to 15km hike. (Alps in Austria).

    We have now bought a tandem and plan to tour many areas of South Africa over the next few years worth of holidays.

  25. Georges Dodds
    Georges Dodds August 10, 2014 at 6:51 am #

    Just finished a 2 week 1800 km (1100 miles) tour around Lake Ontario (the long way, Montreal >Albany > Buffalo > Fort Erie > Niagara-on-the-Lake > Toronto > Montreal).
    * I’ll be 55 in 2 weeks, and have well controlled Type II Diabetes
    * I did no formal training (though I have done a number of 6-45 day trips over the last 35 years), but kept up an average of just under 120 km/day, with little variation [except the one day when 125 mm (~5 in.) of rain fell in 5 hrs]
    * Besides one forced overnight stay in a hotel (Albany, $150 eeks!!!) due to severe thunderstorms, with local reports of hail, 2 nights staying with/visiting relatives (free), the other 12 nights were scot free (guerrilla camping).
    * Rode a late 1970s vintage Peugeot 10-speed (cost $100, 7 years ago), replaced 1 tire (27 x 1½) ($22), have had the same rear paniers (Bellweather) since 1979, and while they’ve lost their waterproofing, they’re structurally fine — I just wrap things in Ziploc (plastic) bags to keep them dry.
    * The only big splurge was ~$120 for a Brooks saddle (leather seat) a few years ago — when some @@#%!!! deserving a long lingering and excruciatingly painful death stole my 25+ year old Brooks saddle. I could go on endlessly about how comfortable the Brooks saddle is for long distance biking — needs a bit of upkeep, covering with a plastic grocery bag on rainy occasions, but fantastic comfort!!
    * Food and drink costs for trip $50/day (I like to indulge in a pint or two of Guinness, and a good meal on occasion)

    As for pacing, I always make sure I have plenty of extra time, so I’m not pressing to finish by a deadline — best stress reducer I know.

  26. Sammy
    Sammy September 4, 2014 at 5:30 am #

    We did a 1.5 year tandem tour in 93-94 in Europe and Africa. I loved it, she on the other hand tolerated it. I woke up every morning (well almost every morning) with the thought if only I could get paid to do this.

    We lived on about $5 day in Africa, camping, cooking and usually 1-2 meals at a restaurant (simple ones, you know really simple) and alot of skumi wika (steamed greens, we loved them being vegeterian). In Europe we tended to spend around 10-15 with camping and not counting extras.

    It was really great to be able to camp in Paris at the Bois de Boulougne, what a crazy campground but fun. The French were great but food was really hard, being a vegeterian, loved the salad from the markets. And one time went to a Chinese Restaurant and even there the portions were French meaning small. Best places to eat in Paris were the Moroccan places. They know how to eat. Almost as good as Morocco but nothing was like Marakech Market at night, so cool.

    While my wife at the time said one morning ‘Sam this is harder than work’. It was a different experience for both of us.

    But I found Africa more desireable for cycling than Europe. I didn’t mind Europe and we had some nice experiences there but I preferred Africa on many levels, never felt threatened except in parts of the cities, Nairobbery and Harare.
    Countryside was very tranquil and people so hospitable and generous.

    We would look for the nicest house or abode and just knock on the gate to see if we could camp in their yard, we were never refused. Sometimes even invited to stay with the Humans inside. I actually preferred sleeping outside in the tent looking at the stars, we had netting in our tent.

    The Tandem was good because no matter how fast I cycled she was always right behind me, good for her not always for me. I am going to start travelling again, now in my 50′s. It’s all about pacing yourself. At one point I was really burned out and just stayed at a nice campground in Malawi for a week, what a nice break and Malawi was wonderful.

    We definitely had good gear, my wife like buying nice things in every sense and I went along with it. I agreed for the bike because I wanted to limit equipment problems, we had the thickest thermarests in those days 2.5″ because getting a good nice sleep was important and we had a comfortable, durable tent, Moss (now MSR). I don’t think you have to buy the most expensive, I had the multifuel MSR but now prefer the simplier methane handbuilt stoves. Weight is always an issue. We carried too many spare parts.

    Beckman bags too low on the front of the Tandem but Huge (with Gordon racks, now Bruce Gordon wow he is a real jerkoff, probably was a surgeon in his previous life) like megalithic, and we had the zip off backpacks that we occasional used but sounded like a good idea. Bob was horrible on his time frame but we fortunately had enough lead time that we got them before we left, he was only 6 months behind schedule. But he is a really nice guy, makes a beautiful product and is definitely a horrible project manager, but I never regret getting his bags, they were beautiful and I would definitely do business with him again.

    Thanks for your inspiration and stories, I’m going to set a goal to be on the road in a year.

    Sorry this got so long but such good memories.

    Cheers,

    Sam

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